Servin, an off-duty police officer, drove his car to Douglas Park on the West Side of Chicago after calling the police to make a noise complaint. He then approached a group of four individuals who had been partying in the park and had some form of verbal altercation with them. Reports are unclear as to whether Servin was calm and polite or rude and aggressive. One of the victims, Antonio Cross, accused Servin of attempting to buy drugs from the group, to which Cross allegedly told Servin to get his "crackhead ass" out of there.
Servin fired on the group, hitting Rekia Boyd in the head, and Antonio Cross in the hand. Initially the Chicago police department claimed that Servin had discharged his weapon after Cross had approached him with a gun. The Boyd family quickly responded that the object was in fact a cell phone. No weapon was ever recovered from the scene.
In November 2013, Servin was charged with "involuntary" manslaughter, but was cleared of all charges on April 20, 2015, by Judge Dennis J. Porter in a rare directed verdict.
Porter's reasoning was that since the shooting was intentional, Servin could not be charged with recklessness. "It is intentional and the crime, if any there be, is first-degree murder," said Porter in his ruling. Attorney Sam Adam, Jr., accused state prosecutor Anita Alvarez with deliberately undercharging Servin knowing that the charges would be dropped, in order to curry favor with the police department.
Servin claimed he fired because someone in the group was holding a gun, but it was actually only a cellphone. Witnesses said that Servin appeared drunk at the time of the incident.
In November 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Garry McCarthy both suggested that Dante Servin should be fired by the Chicago Police Board. The city paid $4.5 million to Boyd's family.
Servin resigned on May 17, 2016, two days before the departmental hearing which was to decide whether he should be fired.
While there was some public protest of the ruling, the community response was overall more muted compared to protests against the acquittals of other police officers involved in the deaths of African Americans, such as those who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray. Some commentators  pointed to "the sexism of those ostensibly committed to black liberation" that "can leave us blind to the taste of brutality that black women are getting from the police."
The Black Lives Matter movement has protested the deaths of black girls and women at the hands of police, including Boyd's.